Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 1 May 2000
Last Updated On 1 May 2000
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 2000
This is the City of Undead, filled with zombies, skeletons, mummies, ghouls, vampires and all manner of living dead. It is also home to the largest granary in Dorastor, the Sleeping City, the Necropolis, the Palace of Gold, the Giant King and the Zoo.
A quiet, peaceful place, Neverdead sits amongst an immense array of fields, bordering on dark, brooding Hellwood. In the fields, untiring labourers till the soil using ancient farming methods, guarded by ever-vigilant soldiers. Oxen pull ploughs all day and all night, pests are kept at bay by cats mummified during happier days. During the harvest, carts continually carry grain along well-maintained trackways to the great Granaries where it is stored by the Dorasta cult.
There is a continual struggle between the inhabitants of Neverdead and those of Hellwood. The Vampire Lords burnt down part of Hellwood, with Ralzakark's help, many years before. The elves try to kill the zombie farmers, as a holy duty, and spread weeds throughout the fields. When captured, the elves join the infamous Dead Bow Legion and guard the grain runs against their troublesome kin.
The city of Neverdead itself is a decaying city of First Age architecture. Even the newer buildings quickly decay and crumble, but never fall apart completely. The streets are generally eerily quiet with the denizens going about their business in silence. Zombies and skeletons walk the streets, carrying out the tasks of their masters. Zombie soldiers patrol the streets with their mummy captains. Visitors are not molested while they are within certain safe zones, but away from these areas there is great danger.
Neverdead is a theocracy, ruled over by the Vampires of the Vivamort cult. However, the Great Council and the Giant King have only a loose control over the constituent parts of Neverdead. Each Vampire has its own following of zombies, mummies, ghouls, Devotees and Providers and acts according to its own desires. Many Vampires have a feudal relationship with others, so some Vampire Lords control larger forces of undead. However, many of the Undead of Neverdead owe no allegiance to the Vampires as their particular master may have been destroyed centuries ago, these can be controlled by wandering magi or initiates of the various cults of Neverdead. The bearer of the Sleeping City Staff has control over thousands of zombies for a week and this is often exploited in times of war. When Neverdead is attacked, the Vampires and Mummies can mount a spirited defence as they know all the hotspots of undead, all the streets and alleyways and also know how to collapse streets and buildings or how to let loose hordes of ghouls, zombies or skeletons on attacking forces. Any force attacking Neverdead must either be very powerful or very large, otherwise it will merely strengthen the forces of Neverdead.
In Neverdead there are some unusual places.
The Sleeping City
Around a shrine lies the Sleeping City where nothing stirs. Any creature falling asleep here never awakens and becomes a living corpse, contemplating eternity. Occasionally these corpses are made to rise in times of emergency when they will defend Neverdead. There is a staff held in the Shrine that will cause all the Sleeping Citizens to rise and follow the bearer of the staff, but the staff can only be carried by one person for a week and no more, after that period, the staff will return to the Shrine and cannot be picked up by that person again.
The Quiet Place
This is a collection of buildings that act as a Cathedral to Gark the Calm. They are inhabited by thousands of worshippers, silently contemplating the Infinite. Anything dying here is turned automatically into a zombie with no self-will but total self-awareness. Anything falling asleep here who does not awaken before dawn dies when the first rays of the sun fall upon them. On Holy Days of Gark the Calm, the zombies sing his praises in a series of Psalms that are heard nowhere else. Most sane people avoid the Quiet Place during this time, but a few followers of Irripi Ontor or Lhankor Mhy come to hear the Psalms.
These are a series of earthen pits within sacred enclosures deep within Neverdead. These Pits are filled with sacred and blessed earth and are the home of Dagorma cultists. Any corpse buried in the Pits will have its flesh stripped from it within a week and will rise as a skeleton of the Dagorma cult. These skeletons are often used to guard the Granary and Necropolis as they are the only undead held acceptable by the Earth Cultists. The Dagorma cultists here no nothing of the cult in Pent and know of Dagorma as the Hungry Earth.
The Necropolis is a City of the Dead on the west bank of the river where the corpses of those who have recently died are laid out in state, ready to rise as mummies or zombies. There are certain places in the Necropolis where the corpses will remain dead, protected by the magics of the Earth, normally these are buried using sacred tools and special magics. Quite often, mages will walk through the Necropolis, choosing which corpses will be raised.
Towards the centre of Neverdead is the Granary. Dedicated to Dorasta herself, this Earth Temple is used to store the bountiful harvest of Neverdead. Kept and administered by the Priests and Initiates of Dorasta. The grain is sold to the rest of Dorastor, generating most of the wealth of Neverdead. A cadre of Babeester Gor cultists guard the grain and the Granary, based at the Axe Temple. Together with the worshippers of Ty Kora Tek in the Necropolis and the Dagorma cultists in the Pits, they make up the Earth worshippers of Neverdead.
This is also known as the Zombie Zoo and is the place where the exotic creatures are kept, preserved for ever. Anyone bringing a live creature not found in the Zombie Zoo and selling it to the Zoo will be handsomely rewarded. The Zoo is open for visitors to look around in relative safety as all the denizens are locked in cages and have prohibitions against harming visitors. In times of war, however, the Zoo can be opened and a horde of Zombie Exotics can be freed to defend the city.
There are many ferries across the River, with zombie ferrymen waiting to carry Vampires across the water. Many of the dead are ferried to the Necropolis in rituals unknown elsewhere. Within the River are many zombie fish and other water creatures. These act as guards and spies, watching for any attacks from the water. They also act as fisher-friends to the zombie fishermen of the river and help shepherd fish to the waiting nets. It is said that Zombie Sharks, Water Serpents and Whales dwell in the River, but those who know for sure are now long dead.
These are basements of some of the larger buildings in Neverdead and are filled with Ghouls. They gain their name because of the incessant howling of the Ghouls that some say is the Choir of the Devil. These Ghouls are kept hundreds to a room and are often kept hungry and tortured so that when released they are crazy with bloodlust and hunger. Anyone thrown to the Choir will be devoured by a mass of undead. Quite often, when a ghoul is created, the new corpse is thrown into one of the Choirs where is has a miserable existence.
In the centre of Neverdead is the Golden Palace where sits the Great Council of Neverdead. This is a magnificent building made from the finest of marbles and capped with a dome of solid gold. Following the orders of the Giant King, the Dome is illuminated by Sunbright and Glow spells so that it illuminates the surrounding 100 metres. This does not worry the Giant King and other vampires use magic to approach the Dome. It is said that the Giant King does this to challenge the Yelmalian Elves of Hellwood, but nobody knows if this is the true reason. Many undead shun the Golden Palace, calling it the Hurting Place, so this is the safest place for visitors, except when the Council is meeting.
Within the Golden Palace is the Council Room where sits the Great Council of Neverdead. This meets once per season for a week at a time and consists of all the Vampires of Neverdead and any itinerant Vampires from outside. The Great Council sits in judgement over Neverdead and also plans the strategy of the undead of Neverdead. It is the ultimate body for legal difficulties in Neverdead and when difficulties cannot be solved by more brutal means, the undead come to the Great Council for judgement.